Five WordPress Expectations for 2014

What’s in store for WordPress in 2014?


Last week we laid out our resolutions for 2014, promising to pay more attention to user behaviour and use our WordPress skills to support worthy causes.

In today’s post, we’re setting our expectations (rather than predictions) for what new things will come to the world of WordPress this year.

Security for the masses.

As ManageWP wrote about this past week, the complexity of security plugins can cause as many headaches as they solve. They certainly aren’t plug-and-play!

Nonetheless, we expect — and hope — that users will be paying more attention to securing their websites in 2014.

This includes using hardening WordPress, using stronger passwords, limiting login attempts, enabling two-form authentication, and setting up SSL certificates for secure connections.

WordPress releases will come faster and faster.

WordPress 3.6 “Oscar” took ages to come out (August 2013; 3.5 was released in December 2012), while 3.7 (October 2013) and 3.8 (December 2013) were absolutely flying by comparison.

We expect that WordPress 3.9 will follow this pattern, as will all future releases, thanks in large part to the new Features-as-Plugins approach.

This would move WordPress towards the Chrome browser comparison that Matt Mullenweg made in his State of the Word address: Ongoing updates that the average user never notices.

“Crack hits for developers”, indeed!

The Core development team resumes their weekly meetings next week; let’s see how it goes.

Twenty Fifteen theme will be a minimalist canvas.

Twenty Thirteen and Twenty Fourteen were major departures from the previous “clean” looks of Twenty Ten through Twenty Twelve.

We expect that Twenty Fifteen will be a return to the understated simplicity and best practices.

Konstantin Obenland, a core theme developer, has proposed as much in his blog, where he suggests that Twenty Fifteen be built on top of _s:

“Let changes only be in style.css. That’s it! No additional functionality or bloat. If anything, we take unneeded code out. This doesn’t mean it can’t look good. It doesn’t mean it will be less awesome than its predecessors. CSS is a powerful tool, if in the right hands.”

To be clear, _s (aka Underscores) is a starter theme, not a parent theme or theme framework. That’s where we expect Twenty Fifteen to come in: acting as a stable parent theme that’s ready for customization.

Jetpack shifts to overdrive.

Think of Jetpack as Automattic’s everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink plugin suite for WordPress.

What started off as a modest collection of tools for integration has grown to become a powerhouse of useful features. CDN? Got it. Uptime monitoring? Sure. JSON API? Heck, why not!

In Matt’s talk at the Joomla World Conference (see above for the video), he shared his thoughts on how modern software development embraces rapid iteration. It would make sense, then, for Automattic devs to push this as much as they can with enhancements to

In turn, Jetpack will benefit. This’ll change conversations from “Why should I use Jetpack?” to “Why shouldn’t I use Jetpack?”

More WordPress education, not just training.

We’ve seen the popularity of WordPress training rise steadily in the last few years. Online and offline workshops have been popping up all over the place.

You may be asking yourself, what’s the difference between training and education? Simply put, we see the difference as one of empowerment and enabling freedom.

Sure, you can learn how to complete a task through training; but education provides you with the ability to solve problems.

To quote Robert Essenhigh from Ohio State University:

“The difference? It’s the difference between know how and know why. It’s the difference between, say, being trained as a pilot to fly a plane and being educated as an aeronautical engineer and knowing why the plane flies, and then being able to improve its design so that it will fly better. Clearly both are necessary, so this is not putting down the Know-How person; if I am flying from here to there I want to be in the plane with a trained pilot (though if the pilot knows the Why as well, then all the better, particularly in an emergency).”

It’s in our name, and it’s what we aspire to; going beyond the fundamentals of “how do I use WordPress?” (we have a plugin for that!) to reach the more-elusive heights of “what can I accomplish with WordPress?”

What WordPress expectations do you have for 2014?

Michael Bastos shared his predictions on Torque earlier this week, focusing more on the more advanced development and business aspects of WordPress. A week prior, Envato founder Collis Ta’eed shared his 2014 predictions for web design.

What are you predictions, expectations, hopes, or ambitions for the year ahead?

Photo credit: Jessica Paterson on Flickr

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